The Migrant Worker


For toiling to make the products Americans use every day.

Almost no one in Arkansas has heard of her hometown, perhaps in Hunan, or been to the drab factory hundreds of miles away where she toils, perhaps in a dreary city like Dongguan, in Guangdong province. But she helps make the iPhone that sells in Little Rock’s malls — not to mention Chicago’s, and Charlotte’s, and Santa Clara’s. She (yes, “she” — according to a May 2013 Economist article, “women far outnumber men” on some Guangdong production lines) has a monotonous job. But it forms the backbone of the U.S.-China relationship, which still largely relies on Chinese workers making things for American consumers.